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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Just How Evil Has Russia Become?

Links: A. Problems with New START Treaty
           B. Russia's Support for Syria's Bashir al-Assad
           C. Russia Assisting Iran's Nuclear Program
           D. Russia Launches New UK Channel

Today's post will probably be broken up into two segments, as much as I despise "Part I and Part II" reading selections.  This subject can't be addressed with only a handful of paragraphs.  Recently we've discussed Iran, the resurgence of Al-Qaeda in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Ebola crisis.  All of these issues deserve serious attention.  In fact, as we dither, I'm assuming the Iranians have been making tremendous progress in their efforts to enrich Uranium.  In the mind of President Obama, though, the real threat to the liberty and safety of the American people is......the need to "legalize" persons who are living in this country sin documentos.  Hey, we all have out priorities.  I won't be tackling that issue in my blog, at least not anytime soon.  Let's take another look at Mother Russia.

In 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got to work negotiating a Nuclear Reduction Treaty with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (of course we actually mean Prime Minister Vladimir Putin). Many analysts questioned the timing and the need for this treaty, and once the guts were on the table for us to examine, the United States did not come off well (I won't drop this pile of manure squarely on Hillary's doorstep; thirteen GOP Senators voted in favor of the treaty; of course, that was during the days when we had separate branches of government).  If you want to know what is wrong with the treaty, have a quick look at the first link above. More than anything else, any treaty with Russia is a roll of the dice because the Russians lie, hide and cheat.  Ask any of the officials who have previously been involved in weapons reduction verification.  And yet we trust them with our Nuclear Security on a handshake.  In a case of terrible timing for Hillary, the Russians are not winning any philanthropy awards this year.  It will be very difficult not only bragging about the New START Treaty in her 2016 Presidential Campaign; it is something she will have to defend (at least from questions by the Fox News folks).  My personal question to candidate Hillary: "As Secretary of State, you undoubtedly knew of Russian assistance in Iran's efforts to enrich Uranium.  How could you agree to sign a Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty with a nation that was actually helping to create another third-world country with nuclear weapons?"

I don't have to spend too much ink on Russia's support for Syrian de facto President Bashir al-Assad.  During the dark days of the Soviet Union, Russia supported Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad (at least daddy had a chin, for goodness sake), and anyone else who was willing to oppose Israel.  I have a challenge to all of you armchair generals out there.  Lets try and determine just how many Russian tanks have been laid waste in Sinai, Golan, and the West Bank over the past five decades?  What used to fascinate me was the Soviet's willingness to replace the tanks that the IDF destroyed.  And most of the time, it was an upgrade: T-54/55 to 7-62 to T-72 to T-80; what a bargain.  Assad in Damascus still has as many as 1600 T-72/T-72Ms, not to mention 2000 T-54/55 clunkers and 1000 T-62s.  I have no idea how Assad's armor has been reduced, but you can be sure he has taken full advantage of the recent international focus on ISIL to get his front-line units in shape.  Why do the Russians continue the Soviet policy of support for Assad and the Syrian Ba'ath Party?  It all boils down to location and strategy.  Syria sits in a very strategic location, south of Turkey, north of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and west of Iraq.  Having Syria as a close ally has been advantageous to Russia in the past, and the opportunity to create a Mediterranean Russian Naval Base at Tartus is a tempting inducement.  Russian patronage of Assad is paying off.  It gives Russia a seat at the Syria/ISIL/Iraq table, wherever that table may be.

Why are the Russians so anxious to create additional member of the nuclear weapons club?  It has to be more than an issue of money, although I'm sure the Iranians are willing to pay.  Russia has its own oil, so petroleum can't be the reason for assisting Iran's Nuclear efforts.  Historically, the Chinese have also been willing to share their knowledge of all things nuclear (most of it stolen from our labs and universities), but with Beijing it was always about money.  And Iran has contracted with Russia to build a number of reactors.  Heaven only knows where the payment for all of this "help" will end up...probably in a Cyprus Bank Account under a Russian name.  Iran claims to be solely interested in peaceful use of nuclear energy, but the reality is, the Iranians are only interested in enrichment of uranium.  In fact, the Iranians have been using laser technology to create weapons-grade Uranium, which takes less time and is more difficult to detect, therefore encourages proliferation.  It would be such a welcome change if a Russian government would make a decision based on the notion that "its simply the right thing to do".

We have discussed the situation in Ukraine ad nauseam, and I refuse to send the few readers I have left, running for the exits.  My original suspicion was that in order to punish Ukraine for removing a pro-Russian president, Putin decided to annex Crimea and swallow up the modest Ukrainian Navy (poor Ukrainian Navy; I'm the only blogger who gives them any face time).  Putin created the "independence" movement in eastern Ukraine as a bargaining chip; if Ukraine accepts the annexation of Crimea, then Russia will withdraw their criminals and thugs from the streets of Luhansk, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk.  After the fourth or fifth round of punishing sanctions (and one jetliner full of passengers, shot right out of the sky), Putin was reminded of the complete lack of nerve in Washington DC and the EU, and decided to keep mixing things up in the Ukraine.  Lets face it, what does he have to lose?  Putin could order a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and Moldova, and what would President Obama's response be?  Noodle on that one for a while.

The reason I decided to discuss Russia today was the news of a new Russian UK television channel and a new Russian international news service, ostensibly to "combat western propaganda".  One can only hope that people won't pay attention to this new news service called "Sputnik", unless it becomes an outlet for comic relief.  Last week, some Russian news service (probably all of them) highlighted a video clip showing a Ukrainian jet shooting a missile at Malaysian Airlines MH 17.  If it weren't so disgusting and vile, it would have been funny, because the clip was obviously fabricated.  These gross morons don't seem to understand that if the Ukrainians wanted to shoot down that jetliner, they could have done so from at least a few miles away.  The absurdities regarding this alleged photo of a military jet shooting a missile at a civilian jetliner go on and on and on.  And this is the kind of honest reporting that we can expect from Sputnik and the new UK-based Russian television channel.

When the Iron Curtain fell, I was so excited for the future.  I have always been fascinated by Russia, and I was thrilled with the idea of an entirely new relationship between Washington DC and Moscow.  I'm not sure how, but things have fallen completely off the rails.  The Russian people don't seem to be happy unless they have an oppressive, militaristic government.  Can you imagine if Gorbachev had come to power instead of Putin?  But we are stuck with Vlad, and everyday he finds a way to remind me that he is nothing more than a sociopathic bucket of shit with serious homosexual tendencies (nothing personal, Gay folks), who managed to be at the right place and at the right time.  Putin used his KGB and Russian Mafia connections to elbow his way into the power vacuum that was left over after Boris Yeltsin.  And we are all suffering for it.  One fact is becoming more and more apparent all the time; the United States needs a leader who is proud of his/her country and is prepared to stand up to the bullies of the world.  2016 can't come fast enough.......       

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